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Landlords: How to Avoid Having an Empty Property

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Fri 28 Nov 2014

Landlords: How to Avoid Having an Empty Property

Having your property unlet means paying the mortgage and any other costs out of your own pocket.

The bad news is that Christmas is traditionally a bad time for landlords to find new tenants. After all, who wants to move house at Christmas?

But fear not – these tips can help make sure your rental property isn’t empty for long.

Keep your tenants happy

It might sound obvious but a key way to reduce void periods is to encourage good tenants to stay in your property longer. Do your best to establish a good relationship with renters – respond to repair requests promptly and make regular checks to ensure they’re happy in the property.

Some landlords even give their tenants Christmas presents – these needn’t cost the earth but can make the difference between keeping and losing a tenant.

If your current tenants have handed their notice in, ask them why. If the reason for their departure is fixable, fix it. This will stop the next renters leaving for the same reason.

Go for long-term commitment

Avoid six-month contracts where possible and opt for a year-long contract instead. Once the fixed term is up, discuss with your tenants how they feel about signing up for another fixed term, rather than reverting to a monthly rolling tenancy. The longer tenants stay, the less voids you’ll have.

Long-term tenants also mean you won’t have to pay for the costs of finding a new tenant every six months.

Act quickly

Visit the property as soon as you know your tenants are leaving and make a list of everything that needs repairing or replacing. Get quotes where necessary and book in tradesmen to start work as soon as the property is empty.

Voids are the ideal time to redecorate – a quick coat of paint can make the difference to whether a property is let or remains empty.

Marketing

Effective marketing can help you find new tenants quickly. If you want your property to appear on Zoopla or Rightmove you’ll need to hire a letting agent who’s signed up to the relevant portal – neither list properties from inpidual landlords.

Alternatively, use social media to market the property to family or friends, or listings sites such as Loot or Gumtree. However you choose to advertise, include plenty of photographs of both the interior and exterior of the property.

Five quick fixes

  1. Lower the rent: the more attractive the price, the more interest you’ll have.
  2. Consider an open day where several renters can view the property at the same time.
  3. Use a letting agent – a good one will have plenty of potential tenants on their books.
  4. Wherever possible reduce up-front tenants’ fees for references, credit checks and inventories.
  5. Make sure you have an up-to-date gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate. These are mandatory.

www.theguardian.com